SEATTLE, Wash. – Don’t let the stats fool you. The Seattle Seahawks saw everything they wanted to out of DK Metcalf on Thursday night.
Pete Carroll was well aware that Metcalf’s pedestrian numbers – one catch for eight yards on four targets – don’t tell the full story of the rookie’s preseason debut against the Denver Broncos.
“Ohh… just a hair from spectacular,” Carroll said of Metcalf’s performance.
You could hear the regret in Carroll’s voice, knowing just how close Metcalf was to a monster first half. Geno Smith, who started in place of a resting Russell Wilson, attempted two deep passes for Metcalf – one down each sideline. The 6-foot-5 rookie had a step on the corner in coverage on both plays. And yet, both passes fell harmlessly to the ground.
The latter, a throw down the left sideline, bounced off Metcalf’s outstretched fingertips in what would have been a 32-yard touchdown.
“He’s made a couple of those catches (in practice),” Carroll said. “He clicked heels with the (defender) and almost got the first one, and the second one was just off his fingertips. You could see him. He got behind them just like we’re hoping. He’s a big threat.”
The near-misses tantalized everyone in attendance at CenturyLink Field, Carroll included. Heck, Metcalf’s mundane 8-yard reception drew a huge ovation.
“It was great,” Metcalf said of his first preseason action. “I’m just happy I got to be out there in front of all the Seahawks fans showcasing what I can do.”
Metcalf said he’s going to go back and watch the tape to see what can be refined from those two downfield passes. He added that most of his reps have come with Wilson at quarterback. It’s fair to suggest that one (or both) of the attempts would have been a completion with Wilson under center.
No matter. There’s no sense in dwelling on what could have been. Metcalf knows there’s plenty of work to be done with three preseason games yet to play.
“The speed of my play,” Metcalf said regarding what he hopes to work on in the coming weeks. “I feel like I was just trying to get used to the speed of the game for the first time. Just playing with speed.”
Maybe it’s to Metcalf’s benefit that those passes fell incomplete. A long touchdown would have sent his hype train off the rails.
Metcalf and the Seahawks won’t return home until Week 4 of the preseason against the Oakland Raiders. The rookie, and the rest of Seattle’s starters for that matter, aren’t likely to play in the exhibition finale.
That means Metcalf’s first touchdown at CenturyLink Field won’t come until the regular season, when it counts, just the way it ought to be.